Uphilldowndale

Watching nature take its course, from the top of a hill in northern England


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Ironbridge

More of our travels,  this time Ironbridge in Shropshire, somewhere that has been on our ‘one day we’ll go to…’ list for a long long time. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage site 

If Soho House and the Lunar Society was where the formative minds of the industrial revolution came together, this is where the base materials and skills became more than the sum of their parts

Opened in 1781, it was the first major bridge in the world to be made of cast iron, and was greatly celebrated after construction owing to its use of the new material.

Iron Bridge

We didn’t realise the bridge had been swathed in scaffold and plastic for some considerable time,  whilst it had been renovated, it had been recently unwrapped, we overheard some of the locals saying they didn’t like its ‘new’ colour (which is actually the historically correct, original colour)  I like the colour because it reminded me of my dad, he used to paint anything that didn’t move with ‘red oxide paint’ (OK, so occasionally  he made an exception and got out a pot of ‘battleship grey’, but that was the full colour spectrum of his paint stock.)

Iron Bridge red

The Ironbridge Gorge provided the raw materials that revolutionised industrial processes and offers a powerful insight into the origins of the Industrial Revolution and also contains extensive evidence and remains of that period when the area was the focus of international attention from artists, engineers, and writers. The property contains substantial remains of mines, pit mounds, spoil heaps, foundries, factories, workshops, warehouses, iron masters’ and workers’ housing, public buildings, infrastructure, and transport systems, together with the traditional landscape and forests of the Severn Gorge. In addition, there also remain extensive collections of artifacts and archives relating to the individuals, processes and products that made the area so important.

Iron Bridge tolls

Ironbridge has ten museums, we managed three in a day, but we have a season ticket to return at our leisure.

Iron Bridge buildings_

If you are visiting Ironbridge, we feel we should give a shout out to the hospitality of The White Hart

White Hart Ironbridge.jpg

 

 

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Flower of the Hour

Hibiscus

Hibiscus trionum, AKA the Flower-of-an Hour,

Westbury Court Gardens 7 uhdd-1.jpg

I can live with the ephemeral life of the flower, if it delivers such delightful seed heads ( @ £1.95 for a packet of seeds, I might have to have a crack at growing these).

Hibiscus 2

Spotted during a brief* visit to Westbury Court Garden which was a little gem of a place.

Westbury Court Gardens 5 uhdd-1

Laid out in 1696-1715 its a Dutch style water garden,

Westbury Court Gardens 3 uhdd-1

its first lucky break was to fall off the fashion radar at the time of Capability Brown’s Landscape School, when many such gardens were destroyed,

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secondly was to be rescued by the National Trust in 1967, in a state of neglect and disrepair, and thirdly was the archive materials, that showed which plants were planted where, how many of each and how much they cost (more or less than £1.95 I wonder?)

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A rather romantic vibe

Westbury Court Gardens 10 uhdd-1.jpg

Although I imagine the A48 was quieter then!

Westbury Court  A48 11 uhdd-1.jpg

*Flat tyre on the M5, delayed our journey, it’s not a nice place to be, on the hard shoulder, with traffic thundering past; glad when we were safely on our way again after the support of the RAC. When it comes to changing tyres on the motorway, leave it to the experts, it delayed us by an hour, which is nothing in the scheme of things. .

 

 


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Mizen Head

Ireland’s most southwesterly point, and home to the Mizen Head Signal station, as you can see, it’s an isolated spot that is enhanced by modern paths and an essential bridge (to my mind)

Mizen head view

We didn’t need telling more than once

Dangerous cliff

We were keeping to the paths.

Dangerous cliff Mizen_

Which had their own attractions

Mizen Head orchid rock

 

Mizen Heasd chain

We are duty bound to photograph such feats of engineering, as Joe is studying civil engineering, and like to see a nice bridge.

Mizen Head bridge side.jpg

The signal station is now a museum, much of its original equipment remains,

Distress_

Mizen_

Along with documents,

Mizen Head Telegram

which kind of looked a bit haphazard, but one hopes they’ve been catalogued

Mizen Head cupboard.jpg

This was my favourite, an inventory of  tubes and fuses, who need an Excel spreadsheet eh? I like the faux alligator skin print of the cover

Tubes fuses Mizen_

Working here must have been an isolated life, you weren’t going to see a lot from the window, and certainly not the next landfall of America, it does feel like the edge of the world.

last view_

and before the bridge was built, there were only a few ways of leaving.

Mizen Head Rescue

We had the luxury of walking off, although Mr Uphilldowndale, was keeping to the centre of the bridge, and not looking down.

 

Mizen Head Bridge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Conor Pass

The Conor Pass is one of the highest and most scenic roads in Ireland.  The day we drove over, the conditions were good, and traffic was light.  Mr Uphilldowndale had ridden his bike to the summit the previous day, and had not seen very much at all.

Conor Pass

It’s narrow and steep, but whilst I wasn’t driving, I didn’t think it wasn’t as arduous as Hardknott Pass  in Cumbria or Bealach na Ba in Scotland  (I’m sure the weather helped)

Conor Pass rocks

The view was stunning,

Conor Pass sumit

I loved the birdeye view of the ancient croft and sheep pens down in the valley.

Conor Pass walls

 


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Brandon Creek

Brandon Creek, on the Dingle peninsula, part of Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way. It was a benign little natural harbour the day we visited, but it obviously has history, the weather was such that we never saw the big Atlantic rollers that hit this coast line.

Danger Waves

If the waves don’t get you maybe the bracken will?

There is something very pleasing to the eye about the butterfly sticker on this warning sign, it’s the symmetry I think, but it doesn’t detract from the message.

Butterfly life preserver_.jpg

This was the home of St Brandon the Navigator, allegedly.

He is known as the “navigator” for the legendary journey he made by boat which some have claimed was an account of an early discovery of the North American continent. Unfortunately, like many Celtic “saints”, there is considerable doubt over his true identity, whether his life story is a merger of several lives and legends, or indeed if he existed at all

The clouds hugged the hills

Cottage for sale

The cottage in the photo was for sale, if you fancy a little project, I don’t imagine it has much in the way of services (or a damp proof course for that matter).

DIY challenge_

If you take a closer look at the first photo of the cottage you can see, in the foreground, the muddy, bank? That’s a landslip, the harbour eating its way inland,  so I’m guessing insurance might be an issue, buyers may have to offer up a prayer to St Brandon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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N is for nurse

For me part of trying to understand the Great War is about trying to understand the social norms of the time. 

N are the nurses-103001

And what was ‘the norm’ seems  strange and sometimes abhorrent now.  Attitudes to gender, race, class,  the fate of those that were shot at dawn, for cowardice, for what now would have been recognised as shell shock.

Both Mr Uphilldowndale and I have family that were either medical orderlies or medics,  my great uncle is on the far left of this photo, I’m assuming he would have served with the Sherwood Foresters regiment, but I’m not sure. (If any passing reader can tell me anything about when and where this photo was taken, please do, as there is not detail written on the back).

WW1 Medical

It was when I saw the bunker at Essex Farm Cemetery  that was used as am advanced dressing station the grim reality of the conditions hit me. Confined and claustrophobic,  the stream of catastrophically wounded soldiers that passed under its gas curtain is an unbearable thought. 

It is the grim reality that adjacent to the advanced dressing stations were the hastily dug graves, that became the last resting place of many of the casualties. I suppose at least these guys had a marked grave.  Small mercies.

Women weren’t allowed this close to the front, they were further back in the evacuation line, which was all things considered very sophisticated, and necessity being the mother of invention the Great War led to many medical advances that we take for granted today. But at such a cost.

Nurse Nellie Spindler was one of only two women to be killed and buried in Belgium during the Great War, she was a Yorkshire lass.

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